How to Forgive an Adulterous Spouse


Does it seem impossible to forgive your spouse? Dr. Emerson Eggerichs shares a conversation with a reader who is having trouble forgiving a spouse after he found out about 2 affairs.

A husband wrote to us,

“I read your post on Facebook today regarding forgiveness, but I don’t understand how I can forgive my spouse when she has had two affairs. We are now divorced…Please help me understand your message.”

I shared with him:

  1. How forgiveness is different than reconciliation with your spouse.
  2. Jesus’ forgiveness of those who hated him.
  3. How to not become bitter.
  4. The difference in knowing when to remove consequences and when loving someone requires justice.
  5. The freedom that is found in forgiveness.

The good news is a wife’s betrayal cannot prevent a husband from having a spirit of forgiveness. He is free to be like Jesus and forgive. His wife cannot control him. She cannot make him bitter.

Later, I followed up to see how he was doing. He responded saying,

Good morning, Dr. Emerson,

I have been able to forgive and know that the Lord has plans for me and what’s ahead for me in life. Life is too precious to wander in the valley of darkness where the enemy dwells. I have 3 beautiful kids who need me, as I need them. [I need to] show them that God lives in us, [and] therefore we must be appreciative for what we have been given…Thank you so much for following up and caring for someone like me.

I do care for people like him, and I care for people like you who read this blog.

Have you prayed a prayer to forgive? May I invite you to pray this way?

“Lord, I thank you that I am free. I can have a forgiving spirit regardless of my adulterous spouse. My spouse does not enslave me to a life of bitterness. He/She does not have that kind of control over me.

I have deep sorrow about what has happened and I confess that I must fight resentment. I have no right to hold onto this bitterness because you have never been bitter toward me. I hope for reconciliation with my spouse, but even if that never happens, I will move forward in the spirit of forgiveness.

I will not remove consequences and boundaries if he/she returns, but help me now, Lord Jesus, to forgive my spouse in my spirit, even if she never seeks my forgiveness. I seek to forgive as You forgave others and have forgiven me. I forgive my spouse even as you have forgiven me. And I thank you that, in forgiving my spouse, I’m reminded of how you have forgiven me. I will walk with a forgiving spirit because my bitterness will ultimately undermine my relationship with you, and I will not allow that to happen.

I will say one big, “YES,” to forgiving. Help me with all the little “yesses” that will yet come. In the name of the Forgiver, I pray. Amen.”

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